Featured Artist and Living Treasure

Every year, Native Treasures designates an artist as the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Living Treasure and the Native Treasures Featured Artist. We are thrilled to announce that Taos Pueblo jeweler Maria Samora is the 2018 MIAC Living Treasure and Native Treasures Featured Artist. Her work is known for its minimalist lines and interdisciplinary techniques.

“For me, I really want to break down these boundaries and these stereotypes of what people think Native jewelry should be,” says Samora from her Taos studio. “I just want my jewelry to speak for itself.

Samora began apprenticing with Taos goldsmith and master gem cutter Phil Poirer 20 years ago in 1998 and went on to work with him for 15 years. The metalwork she has since learned incorporates techniques adapted from Etruscans, Egyptians, Greeks, and Syrians, even the Korean method of keum-boo, which involves applying thin sheets of gold to silver. Since striking out on her own, Samora’s jewelry has become known for the simplicity of its design, textured metals, and combinations of both gold and silver. Stones include traditional turquoise and unexpected choices such as diamonds, guava moonstone, or African opal.

In addition to her minimalist designs (sometimes she actually removes a detail from a piece if she thinks she’s overdone it) Samora emphasizes practicality. “This is not something you’re going to be hanging on the wall,” she says. “You’re wearing it; it becomes a part of you.”

Samora says she looks forward to this spring’s Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival and relishes being part of such a dynamic community of artists. “It’s really an honor to be accepted by all the other artists who, over the years, have become a community and a family,” she says

The honoring ceremony for Maria Samora will take place at the Native Treasures Pre-Show Celebration on Friday, May 25, from 5:30-7:30 pm, at the Santa Fe Convention Center.

Each year, the award for the Living Treasure artist is an original piece of art made and presented by the previous year’s Living Treasure honoree. Last year’s award recipient was Jody Naranjo.

 

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